tv Your Business MSNBC November 16, 2013 2:30am-3:01am PST
a cheap desk, internet access, a business address and a community. how innovative entrepreneurs are making their start-up dreams come true in these new innovative workplaces. and a new hampshire online bridal registry that's getting customers to shop local for the happy couple. that and more coming up next on "your business." >> announcer: small businesses are revitalizing the economy.
american express open is here to help. that's why we're proud to present your business on msnbc. ♪ hi there everyone. i'm jj ramberg and welcome to "your business," the show dedicated to giving you tips and advice to help your small business grow. entrepreneurial work spaces have come a long way from the original concept of a cheap desk, internet access and a business address. these members only hubs are popping up all over the country now. helping start-ups get their businesses off the ground faster than ever by offering education and mentorship and a community. now, even big businesses want to get into the act. having small offices located within these spaces to keep their organizations fresh and tapped in to these high energy
innovative environments. >> we're really standing on the brink of really the largest shift in workplace dynamics that we've seen in 100 years. this is the industrial revolution of our time. >> that revolution is happening all across the country. most notably behind the walls of a new generation of cutting-edge co-working spaces where entrepreneurs are creating, launching and running their companies. >> the way we work is dramatically changing. across the next ten years, more than half of the american workforce will be independent workers. >> that shift in the way we work is leading more and more entrepreneurs to ditch the desk and abandon the traditional office setup. instead of locking themselves behind closed doors, they're setting up shop in places that
foster collaboration and innovation. the alley in new york city is one of these new types of work spaces. at any given time, the place is buzzing with activity from mostly 20-somethings working on their ideas. >> this is a whole different way of looking at work. >> right. >> you're not -- it's not your company and your offices. you are purposefully setting yourself up next to a whole bunch of other companies. >> right, right. because collaboration, we find, leads to innovation and the people in these spaces really like to be around other people that are like-minded. if you put people in the same space together, you can interact with them and bounce ideas off of them. so it can actually aid in the growth of your business. >> people are not assigned an office or even a desk. you just come in and work wherever you want for a $450 monthly fee. >> you say membership, not rent. what does that mean? >> it's not just an office space. it's more like a community.
it works like a gym membership where you can work wherever you want to work. instead of using a treadmill, you have access to venture capital office hours or access to events. >> christian anderson who co-founded the speakeasy in indianapolis, another co-working space, says this is how ideas happen. >> it's very like an engineering the process of innovation. cities around the country are trying to figure out how to attract more start-ups. crea create infrastructure to do that. the best way is to create an environment where there's kind of serendipitous collisions can happen between smart people. >> which is why he opened up the speakeasy, a place indy start-up scene calls home. >> it's a moose lodge for geeks. it's a place for folks in the start-up community, who support the start-up community, to spend time and connect. >> it's nice to get a perspective on scaling, on legal
issues, on art direction issues, on coding issues. you've got somebody around that is an expert in everything. >> the alley and the speakeasy are just two co-working spaces. there's also tony shea's container park in las vegas and the grind in new york city. and developer town is taking the creative office space to a new level. clustered inside a giant indianapolis warehouse is a neighborhood of small unique houses filled with developers and entrepreneurs. >> i saw pixar headquarters had houses for their creators. i thought that's a cool office theme. i thought man, i could put those on wheels and form and reform teams. you're always moving developers around trying to make them productive with each other. they also need space to focus for long periods of time. you own that space as a developer for the whole time you're here. >> every co-working space has its own vibe and attracts a certain type of person. at the grind in new york, the space is clean and simple.
the atmosphere is chill and the carefully curated community is mature. >> our community is mostly made up of seasoned entrepreneurs. it's a group of people where this is not their first business. it's their third business. >> we got to the level where we could afford an office, we didn't want to be stuck in a room staring at ourselves. we wanted to be a part of a larger community. i walked into a network of people that weren't competitors for me. they're all potential collaborators. >> bigger companies are trying to tap into this collaborative mind-set by relocating in some of these co-working spaces. even if just for a day. felicia from danny myers union square hospitality group chose the grind for an off-site meeting to look at marketing efforts with a fresh perspect e perspective. >> we're talking about how to keep things fresh as a company grows. when you're a start-up, it's about collaboration and networking. you end up being tied to your
desk and business. coming here is our chance to step out of our day-to-day and to think. >> big companies have a hard time innovating. i think a lot of large businesses in particular find that just by being in proximity to smaller companies, hyper entrepreneurial companies, some of that rubs off. >> the bottom line in the co-working spaces is that you're not going at it alone. >> can you give me an example of something that happened here that might not have? >> every day something happens here. a venture capitalist will walk into our cafe here and meet a start-up they want to invest in. an event will happen where somebody meets their co-founder. every day something happens that changes the direction of the company that it's about to go in. >> small business saturday is coming up on november 30th. retailers across the country are preparing for the day where
customers are encouraged to shop local. today we take you to new hampshire where we meet the owners of an online gift registry working to keep this mentality going all year round. when allison and her husband got engaged, they knew they didn't want a traditional wedding registry. >> we wanted to support our community with gifts from our guests. so we went to our favorite kitchen shop, things are cooking. we thought, well we want some out of the box things. we put it all together in a google doc. our guests loved it. >> allison decided to start a company making this process simple. nearby registry. it's a gift reg city and wish list service for people who, like her, wanted to list products and services from unique local companies. not just the big box stores and national chains. >> so you can get, you know, rock climbing passes or you can do flightless sons and those are
all local. >> currently, nearby works in towns in seattle and -- it only lists locally independently owned businesses. >> we don't look at it as competing against the big box. they might want adventures and services that literally they can't get anywhere else. we see ourselves as a nice complement to existing gift registri registries. >> companies may a startup fee and transaction fees. customers can add items to their registries. it's attracting customers who care about shopping small. >> my fiancee is 30 and i'm 29. we have all this stuff we can use. when we started about what we would want from a registry, it was more things around us and things to do, experiences. things to support our community. we think it's so much more about who we are than just a set of plates from a big box store
would be. this is about what we do and what we value and it's free. >> how did allison get business toss sign on? she teamed up with organizations that have a similar local mind-set. >> the local shopping movement is a thing. it's real. but it's been around forever. there are local business groups everywhere from chambers to local first movements, shop local movements. we worked with all of those organizations and they have a following of anywhere from in small towns, five members to large towns of 200 members. >> for some of the businesses, it's been a way to modernize their registry systems. >> prior to joining the registry, we did use this type of form and someone would come in and they'd physically have to come in, fill out the form. we are getting more people than we would originally. not a lot of people come in here and do the bridal registry. with nearby registry, it allows it to be a much smoother
transition, you know, for people want to go do that. >> for others, it's been a way to start having a registry offering in the first place. >> people are used to buying online with amazon and various other big registries, which are great. but this is a great way of shopping online locally but across lots of different stores. >> part of nearby's future growth lies in changing the definition of local. to mean much more than the mom and pop stores down the street. >> our site was built with the idea that it would be nationwide. we see a lot of opportunity for sales across country. local is what people define it as. i might define local as a 20-mile radius outside of concord new hampshire. others think the entire northeast is local. they have family and friends in other locations. they want to buy gift certificate to a restaurant in that location for them. >> they're getting customers to think local no matter where you consider home. that's why tom holbrook, one of the owners of community-owned
river run bookstore in portsmouth, used nearby as not only a great way to reach residents, but also a way to get tourists in the door. >> we have a lot of customers who are here seasonally or stop by for a weekend or week and they like the store. nearby allows them to shop an area that they're unfamiliar with but make local independent choices. >> local no longer stands for just location. but a guarantee of unique and one of a kind creations. >> there's nothing you can buy here that you can't buy online. when you sell something that everybody else sells, you have to be special. we know people like to browse local, we know they like to walk around town and en join what we've got here. it's important to neighboring that cognitive link that spending your money at those places you like not only keeps them in business but keeps the economy stronger. >> nearby registry plans to set up shop across the united states and with their upgraded definition of local, the sky's
the limit. >> i think independent businesses will remain unique because not just because of the services and products they offer, but also because of who they are. they are your next door neighbor who owns a shop. you know, you go in and you meet the owner. the owner is working there. it just has a different feel, different customer service. people will always shop local. people look at things differently the way they make purchases, where they spend their money. things will continue to change. nearby registry is not the only organization trying to keep the spirit of small business saturday. a live 365 days a year. proactive business owners in south carolina's low country are doing the same. they're educating friends and visitors on the importance of putting small business first. christine osborn, the owner of the toy store, wonder works, says running a small business is
more about cooperation than ever before. >> it is truly about not competition. it's about camaraderie. >> marian i hey, the third generation of this store says the same. she says when the economy was down, she and her peers turned to each other. >> we need something. we need a call to arms. >> the result was charleston, south carolina's own buy local group. it's a group called low country, local first. >> i often tell people we're about preserving a people and a place. i think it gave a collective voice to the local businesses here in this community. >> executive director, jamie hailey says thinking small wasn't something a lot of people talked about in 2007. >> there was no -- nobody advocating for them, nobody educating the community why it was important. >> while trying to get started wasn't easy. >> nobody was working together to try to get that message out. we just did a lot of knocking on people's doors and saying, hey will you meet with me.
>> since then low country local first has grown to 500 members. each with a vested interest in getting residents and visitors to shop local. >> it's so grassroots that other people were telling their colleagues about it. and it just sort of snowballed. >> in order to best support local outlets, members have to meet certain criteria. >> you need to be locally owned and independent, that you have to have at least 50% of your ownership living here in the low country. you have to be headquartered here. you have to be able to make all of your own marketing, advertising decisions, et cetera. >> once accepted, the members can start telling people about it. >> look for the buy local decal in the window. >> low country backs a handful of initiatives. the biggest one is buy local month which runs from november 15th to december 15th. it was originally just a week long. >> the main idea is that we're trying to get people to make
very conscious dee sticisions a where they're spending money. >> when it's locally made products flying off tt shelves. >> for every dollar you spend in a local business, $3 is made for the community. i never knew that. >> to ensure local events, it promotes all of its members. >> the network of local business that is support each other is really important. >> this type of cooperation in the low country is here to stay. for many members, it's a different way of doing business. but now they wouldn't do it any other way. >> i think we've gone past the point of competition and we're into collaboration now and people understand the value of it. >> when we come back, we'll have advice on increasing clientele when transitioning from a part-time to a full-time business. and how to get customers to forgo technology and instead participate in face to face meetings. today's elevator pitchers hope
to rally them to get behind their company helping former student athletes enter job fairs and job counseling. ♪ ♪ you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses, you support all the things that make your community great. the money you spend here, stays here. in this place you call your neighborhood. small business saturday is november 30th. get out and shop small.
♪ ♪ by now, almost all of us are taking advantage of the web by promoting our businesses online. but are you doing it well? here now are five tips to help you out courtesy of ink.com. one promotions. offer limited time offers with big savings to drive customers to the website. two, tell your own best stories. let your profile, blog and post let your customers know who you are in a compelling way. three, leverage other influencers. knowing the right people can go a long way in getting the word out about your business. spend extra effort making sure they know what you're doing and connect with them on linkedin. four, constantly test, track and improve. if you're posting and blogging, traffic matters. so find out what's working and what's not to make the necessary changes. five, e-mail. direct e-mail is still very
effective if done right. so send out well thought out messages to engage your customers. it is time now to answer some of your business questions. let's get to this week's board of directors to help. mike is the ceo of preventis, a consulting group that helps companies that have plateaued, continue to grow. he is also a best selling author. michael goldberg is a professor at case-western reserve university and the co-founder and managing partner at bridge investment fund. great to see both of you. writing another book too. >> yes. we look forward to hearing about that. >> let's get to the first question. this is about making the switch to full-time work. >> my question is, in transition from a part-time to a full-time business, what should i do to gain more clientele? >> it's an interesting question, right? oftentimes even if you're already full-time, you're trying to figure out how to gain more clientele. >> i don't know if it's about gaining more clientele than
bigger clientele. i would go to my existing clients and see if i can expand work with them. tell them, i'm going full-time, what else can we do together? if you go full-time and try to seek adding more people, it's going to be your time spent finding the people and not serving the ones you have now. focus what you have now. >> should she think about this before giving up that part-time job? >> not necessarily, it's building off the strengths. one thing i talk to my students a lot trying to network in social media tools like linkedin. look at who your connections are connected to. you can efficiently build your network to find new customers. great. let's move on to the next one. about the value of face time. >> how do i get my clients to value face to face in-person training in these days where everybody is too busy. they think is costs to much. rather than doing webinars. >> i love this question because
i think nothing beats doing stuff in person. she's talking about actual service she's providing. i think when you're trying to get a deal done or having a disagreement, just getting someone to be with you face to face versus on the phone or e-mail. so, okay, for this kind of thing, it's obviously much cheaper to do a webinar than fly her out somewhere. what can you say? >> i think in some ways embrace the webinar, embrace the technology. i'm developing a massive open online course mook at case-western reserve. one of the interesting things is, you can use that initial webinar or in our case video to connect with people. what's incredibly important is the follow-up. how do you engage after the webinar. maybe for her business, she's using that tool to engage with folks. then there's that face to face follow-up. she's coming in real life training that goes hand in hand with that. >> that's good. >> i think you need to do a kolb
a. cost benefit analysis. you got to persuade customers by telling them the benefit of arriving in person. if people don't see the difference -- webinars less expensive. therefore, show the benefits of a person face to face type meeting. i would suggest peer to peer benefit. in these meetings where you network. other type of face to face stuff. you have to show the benefit to persuade the cost decision. >> moving on to the next one, this is a question from a financial services professional. >> my biggest challenge is convincing potential clients that i'm there to help them with finances rather than take money away from them and get them -- my question is how can i better overcome that to convince people that i really am there to help and protect their wealth. >> interesting. doing a sales job. if he's the financial guy and he thinks, people think he's charging them for nothing. >> i don't know if you saw as he
was talking, his title below was financial and insurance services. that's called a generic label. when a consumer sees that, they say i know what you do. you don't have to sell me any more. are you cheaper? i don't want you otherwise. you have to break the generic label. one way lawyers can do this, if you heard someone is a lawyer, i know what lawyers are. if a lawyer calls himself integrated counsel. now the customer says i never heard at that term before. you can point out the differentiator. don't be a financial adviser another single day. >> good idea. >> i think one of the challenges in that industry in particular is the lack of transparency often. so financial advisers are saying they're doing x, y and z. people don't understand why -- how is the alignment between the advice i'm getting and the returns i have. make sure that you're transparent about that fee structure and that may build that relationship with the potential client and give people more comfort. >> great. thank you for your advice. you guys stick around. we're getting you in the
elevator with our elevator pictures a little bit later on. we were just talking about asking your customers what necessity think you're doing that's right. this pretty much applies to everything that you do. look, what you think is right for your website may be completely different than what actually will work. luckily, there's an easy and cheap way to test this. user testing.com is a cost effective tool ensuring that your website is working the way it's supposed to. get videos of real people speaking thoughts as -- ask follow-up questions so that you can find out what users and you can customize the survey to find out what's most important for your business. we like to check out twitter from time to time to see what's trending about small business from entrepreneurs, innovators and disrupters. usa today today columnist rhonda abrams with good retail advice. mobile payments help collect money faster during holiday
rush. ceo and founder of advertising tech company bright roll tweets. it's important to have mentors to guide you when being a first-time ceo. i'm very blessed to have had those. and major influencer david karp, the founder and ceo of tumblr with this site. an entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and april want to create. it can be a rough transition for college athletes when trying to then enter the workplace. today's elevator pictures created a company to help them out. >> hi. i'm ralph, president athlete connections. >> hi. my name is dan kraus, founder and ceo of athlete connections. former student athlete, hall of fame from the university of florida. i created it to help student athletes transition out of sports into the business world. 400 student athletes attend college every year. less than 1% will be going pro. that means 99% will be looking
for jobs. we have three revenue streams. career fairs where we bring in companies to hire our student athletes, our life skills curriculum and our internet-based national job board. >> we're looking for a $300,000 investment to use for marketing, advertising and pr. our career fairs generate between $8,000 to $9,000 per event twice a year. we sign an agreement with numerous universities. that's a fraction of the 4,000 universities in the united states that have sports programs. that accounts for 20% of our revenue. the other 80% will come from national job board, our curriculum and tv series. the return on investment for investors is 10% equity which will give a 266% return annually after year three. >> all right. guys, the time is up. thank you. you did a really nice job. let's hear what the panelists think. mike? >> very well-prepared. there's things i like and don't like. what i like is been there, done that. you've gone through the experience, you can speak to it and clearly a professional experience in growing a business. that's a great combination.
the thing i don't like, $8,000 to $9,000 per event and trying to raise $300,000. the money will be on stuff you haven't done yet. that's a risky bet. i'm hearing you need it for investing in marketing. that's like throwing money in the fire if the marketing doesn't work out. >> a couple things that i thought were powerful. i've had a former princeton linebacker working as an intern for me. his work ethic, that link between discipline around athletics and in the workplace really worked for me. another thing i liked about what you're doing, there's a social aspect to who the mission offers. i know, dan, you've got a foundation side where you're doing things to help athlete on the foundation side of the business. i think linking that to the business side, that will appeal to some investors that want to see more than return on investment and doing good for the community. >> did the pitch get you? would you take another meeting? >> yeah. >> how about you? >> i definitely would. >> good job, guys.
it sounds like you're on to something. really appreciate you coming on the show and pitching us. >> the two mikes, mike and mike. thanks for the advice and loved having you. hope to see you again soon. did you know that you too can have a chance to pitch our panel right here on the show? all you have to do is send an e-mail. the address is your firstname.lastname@example.org. in that e-mail, include a few things. tell us what your company does, how much money you're trying to raise and how you're going to use those funds. i look forward to reading those pitches and seeing some of here on the show. thanks everyone fosh joining me today. i hope you took notes to help your small business. now, if you missed anything, go to our website, it's open forum.com/yourbusiness. we put up all of today's segments and extra ones just for online. you can also follow us on twitter. it's @msnbc your biz. we're on facebook too.
we travel to massachusetts next week. we'll talk to local business owners getting ready for small business saturday. they tell us how they're trying to get the community to shop small. while there, we'll talk to actress karen allen. you know her from indiana jones and animal house. well, she's turned her passion for knitting into a small business with a store that's drawing customers to great barrington's main streets. until then, i'm jj ramberg. remember, we make your business our business. ♪ ♪ you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses, you support all the things that make your community great.
the money you spend here, stays here. in this place you call your neighborhood. small business saturday is november 30th. get out and shop small. . . the state of illinois is a bright, bright, bright blue state, right? and every one of the previous six presidential elections going back to 1992, illinois voted handily for the democratic candidate for president. and last year's presidential election, president obama won in his home state of illinois by 17 points. and that does not mean there are no republican areas and no republican members of congress in illinois. there are plenty of conservative parts of the state, but state-wide, illinois is very blue. which makes it all the more amazing that illinois has a senator, and of course, senators are elected statewide, illinois has a senator o